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Malvolio and Feste

            Malvolio initially seems to be a minor character, but he becomes more interesting as the play progresses. He seems to be a serious, stiff and proper servant who likes nothing better than to spoil other people's fun. Feste's role also appears to be as a minor character, but in fact his role is of principal significance. He is used as a commentator on the actions of the other characters. In difference of Malvolio, his job is to keep people happy and smiling. .
             Malvolio is target of a terrible joke from the other servants in Olivia's house. This joke reveals certain characteristics of Malvolio that otherwise would remain hidden, his ambition and his self-regard, which extends to be "Count Malvolio" (II.v.30). When he finds the letter from Olivia (actually from Maria) that seems to offer hope to his ambitions, he hastily assumed that this letter was for him, although it does not said his name. This also shows his stupidity for not assuring himself of what he assumes the letter meant. Malvolio's misfortune becomes a cautionary tale of ambition. Feste, being the opposite of him, seems to be one of the wisest persons within all the characters in the comedy. Viola remarks this by saying "This fellow's wise enough to play the fool"(III.i.61). Feste also has the ability to stay detached from the emotional and self-motivated acts of the others, unlike Malvolio. While most of the other characters are distressed because of their loss of love or want of love, Feste remains self-contained, seemingly driven only by his financial needs. Because he relies on monetary compensation from others he must act in a way that ensures gratuity. It is because the clown is not involved emotionally in the central action that he becomes less of a participant and more of a commentator. After his first song, Feste, enrages Malvolio by mocking him. These comments further enrage Malvolio and instead of learning something from the insights of Feste he becomes more egotistical than before.

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